For a Body by Science style High Intensity Slow workout, it’s best to keep good records of one’s weights and times, as well as work harder than one might if no one was watching.
When no workout buddy is available, try using your smartphone on a tripod to keep a record, like:
Later, one can watch their own workout, recording weights, times (and notes about form, choice of weight, etc.).
An excellent alternative to working with an exercise “buddy” is to be your own buddy!
The training above used the “Inverted Pyramid” strategy:
- when one can’t move the weight any more
- one quickly drops the weight slightly and resumes effort until one can’t move the weight any more
- until a deep muscle “inroad” is made.
This strategy is especially helpful when no “buddy” is present to assist in the last repetition(s) when the resistance exceeds one’s remaining strength in some or all of the range of motion.
I’m unusually sore after this workout, and feeling very good about it!
How I did this: mounted my smartphone on a tripod and set it up in “selfie” mode to record my workout as I went from station to station
- mounted my camera (smartphone in selfie mode) on a tripod
- verified that it could “see” and hear me as I worked
- visited the 5 stations I’d be doing, establishing my seat positions and starting weight
- started the camera running
- for each station in turn:
- spoke the weight I was using before each new effort
- worked slowly, with intensity, to muscle failure
- quickly reduced the weight and repeated till thoroughly “inroaded”
- quickly moved to the next station
- rest these muscles for 1-2 weeks as necessary to produce desired response (working them hard again too soon interferes with the response, so don’t come back for more of this in a couple of days)
- When convenient, watch your video and transcribe your weights and times and note anything you want to improve next time. Prioritize good form! Prioritize minimal rest between efforts and stations.
- Seated Row
- Chest Press
- Overhead Press
- Leg Press
Recommended: read Body by Science, or at least watch the videos linked in Efficient Exercise, to clearly grasp the “why” and “how” of this intense form of exercise.
Followup from 9 days later:
I felt like I might be sufficiently recovered, so I did another session:
After transcribing my times and weights, I see that I did make some improvement in some areas, but may have “fallen back” in others, so I judge that 9 days was likely insufficient time for a full recovery response. My plan now is to wait 12 days till the next workout and see what that does.
After 5 days, I weakened myself by “burning the candle at both ends” during a service project and got somewhat sick. When I tried to do my HIST after 11 days, I judged that I was still too weak. After 14 days I felt ready and did a full HIST, with good results:
Followup 14 days later:
Around day 12, I felt recovered sufficiently to do another workout, but was out of town. (I’d not done my yoga or Pilates for many days, visiting my mother.) On day 14 I returned to the gym and did this workout:
I was significantly stronger on some exercises: seated row was a new record TUL at max weight overall, pulldown was a new record weight and time, and chest press was a new record time at previous max weight. Leg press was only 87% of the prior effort’s record time at max weight, but was still my second best time ever at my 380 pounds max weight. Overhead press was a mixed bag: a new record weight for good form (80 pounds vs 70), but I only made one good, complete rep and 30 seconds under load, and then was very weak on my subsequent tries… my judgement is that I messed up by going from Chest Press to Overhead press without my normally scheduled Pulldown in between… I felt like I had no “juice” in my arms… but now I see that the previous week I’d done this as exercise #2 (and set records) while this week I did it as #3, immediately after chest press, and felt very weak, so I think there’s too much overlap in muscles between chest and overhead, at least on the equipment I’m using.
All in all, I think the two week layoff was a good recovery for my upper body, while appearing to have been insufficient recovery for my lower body.
I will say that my upper body (especially my arms) have been “looking great” when I’ve noticed them these last couple of weeks, so I think this regimen is paying off.
Session 17: 2016-04-03, two weeks after previous workout:
Comments: I raised the weights on several exercises, having reached approximately 90 seconds at max weight. When I did this, my max times dropped (sometimes significantly) at the new max weights, which is to be expected, even though my ego would rather that I could lift more weight for a longer time…
Session 18: 2016-04-18 workout notes: This morning I did a “63rd birthday workout”. I feel like I gave it a really good effort and made significant inroads on my muscle fibers. I’ve yet to calculate my actual times, but feel like I was stronger than last time and am still making progress (albeit slower progress than I’d like).
Now that I’ve run the numbers, I see that I was significantly stronger in 4 out of 5 exercises, and 97% as strong in the fifth, so I’m very happy with my progress since 15 days ago, and reasonably pleased with my continuing progress since early February, when I noticed I had “stalled” after making big gains through the first couple of months and chose to lengthen my recovery period from 7 to 14 days. Maybe I should even go higher than 14 days?!
The actual data is summarized here:
|1 Exercise||2 Dt||Days||Wpct||Tpct||Mtpct||Wt max||Pwt max||Mt at max||Pt at max||T at max||Efforts||Secs ttl||W secs ttl||Wt avg|
Update 2016-05-06: Session #19, 18 days since previous session
This was a tough session. My notes said:
Longest rest period between sessions ever, to date. Started around 1:30 PM., fasted except black coffee in early AM and a cup of tea with a little milk shortly before entering gym.
Felt some fear and avoidance before “biting the bullet” by committing and going in.
Once I was going, I felt the need to “bite the bullet” several times to push myself to give it an intensity level I could feel good about myself with, and mostly I’m proud of my effort today.
The sadness is around how “wrecked” and weak I felt at the Overhead Press and how many times I quit and dropped the weight before completing even one rep! I want to have an excuse my arms were too weak from doing the Chest Press just before. Now that I write this I realize that I actually “blew” the order by going from Chest to Overhead – I was supposed to go Chest, Pulldown, Overhead, and this would probably have helped my performance on the Overhead.
My thinking as I enter the times and weights below is that my Arms were over-rested, while maybe my legs could use more rest?
One thing I felt I did better today was to not allow myself unnecessary rest between sets.
Meanwhile, I’d missed a whole week of yoga, etc by visiting my mom the week prior to this Friday.
Reviewing the numbers for the last 3 sessions:
|Chest Press||May 6, 2016||18||2||100||91||68||170.0||170.0||92||69||63||5||1032||122160||118|
|Chest Press||April 18, 2016||15||2||100||460||75||170.0||170.0||92||15||69||4||844||106380||126|
|Chest Press||April 3, 2016||14||2||103||–||16||170.0||165.0||92||–||15||4||1210||136850||113|
|Leg Press||May 6, 2016||18||5||100||82||82||387.5||387.5||74||74||61||7||1062||330173||311|
|Leg Press||April 18, 2016||15||5||100||164||164||387.5||387.5||45||45||74||3||1165||386675||332|
|Leg Press||April 3, 2016||14||5||102||–||–||387.5||380.0||–||–||45||5||1036||323030||312|
|Overhead Press||May 6, 2016||18||3||100||17||17||80.0||80.0||71||69||12||7||1020||35760||35|
|Overhead Press||April 18, 2016||15||4||100||97||97||80.0||80.0||71||71||69||4||628||40080||64|
|Overhead Press||April 3, 2016||14||4||100||237||237||80.0||80.0||30||30||71||4||795||50050||63|
|Pulldown||May 6, 2016||18||4||100||115||87||150.0||150.0||71||54||62||6||1112||120060||108|
|Pulldown||April 18, 2016||15||3||100||110||76||150.0||150.0||71||49||54||4||1265||126900||100|
|Pulldown||April 3, 2016||14||3||100||69||69||150.0||150.0||71||71||49||4||519||60930||117|
|Seated Row||May 6, 2016||18||1||100||75||75||210.0||210.0||75||75||56||5||1572||221220||141|
|Seated Row||April 18, 2016||15||1||100||110||110||210.0||210.0||68||68||75||6||1650||217425||132|
|Seated Row||April 3, 2016||14||1||100||106||106||210.0||210.0||64||64||68||5||1260||186300||148|
I judge that I was only stronger on the Pulldown, which I did 4th instead of 3rd this time. Othewise, I scored lower in everything, though I judge that I was actually much stronger in the Leg Press (working more efforts with much higher weights) than the above numbers indicate. I’m not sure why the averages / totals don’t support my belief. Here’s the actual numbers for the Leg Press efforts the last three sessions:
|Leg Press||May 6, 2016||387.5||61||shorter than last time – hard start after fail at first with bad seat position; 2-3 sec effort at setting 6; note I’m locking my knees out a bit at the top (to rest?)|
|Leg Press||April 18, 2016||387.5||74||puffin’|
|Leg Press||April 3, 2016||387.5||45||No rest for the wicked. :^)|
|Leg Press||May 6, 2016||360.0||58||skipped this weight last time|
|Leg Press||April 3, 2016||360.0||2||Not going!|
|Leg Press||May 6, 2016||340.0||32||Ohhhh!|
|Leg Press||April 18, 2016||340.0||69||shakin’|
|Leg Press||April 3, 2016||340.0||67|
|Leg Press||May 6, 2016||320.0||38||skipped this weight last time. “320, ‘cmon”|
|Leg Press||May 6, 2016||300.0||26||skipped this weight last time. “300 (look pained) you can do it” Still locking out at the top to grab a tiny rest|
|Leg Press||April 3, 2016||300.0||53|
|Leg Press||April 18, 2016||280.0||90||a little too much lock out at top, felt like a lot of reserve strenght at this weight (slow twitch recovery) Totally whomped at end!|
|Leg Press||May 6, 2016||260.0||67||stopped at 280 last time|
|Leg Press||April 3, 2016||260.0||92||can go a long time when it’s “light”, but now I’m wrecked|
|Leg Press||May 6, 2016||240.0||72||stopped at 280 last time|
2016-05-20, session 20, 14 days since last
Another solo effort, felt like a good one, several “new records” that I felt proud of my effort on (though my inner critic might find reasons to fault me)
I notice that while I’m feeling stronger on some exercises and less strong on others and which exercises I’m strongest on seems to oscillate, there remains overall progress toward greater strength. A friend messaged me today with a similarly positive report- perhaps he’ll post it here.
I’ve developed a new report to show how a particular session’s efforts compare to the prior session’s:
|1||Seated Row||05/20/16||210||132.00%||74||56||poor range of motion|
|1||Seated Row||05/20/16||180||72.00%||24||33||still poor range of motion|
|1||Seated Row||05/20/16||150||87.00%||34||39||scrunching my face|
|1||Seated Row||05/20/16||120||102.00%||43||42||there we go! better range on first couple|
|1||Seated Row||05/20/16||90||105.00%||97||92||lotsa face scrunching|
|2||Chest Press||05/20/16||170||80.00%||51||63||seemed really really heavy!; went too far back, then hopeless|
|2||Chest Press||05/20/16||135||119.00%||56||47||straining face!|
|2||Chest Press||05/20/16||90||102.00%||46||45||I’m quittin’ there|
|3||Pulldown||05/20/16||150||77.00%||48||62||this felt very hard! (I feel weaker than last time – that’s not right!)|
|4||Leg Press||05/20/16||387.5||155.00%||95||61||hard start, but then feeling strong but letting my ass lift off the seat to arm’s full length – is this cheating?|
|4||Leg Press||05/20/16||360||5.00%||3||58||fail; too much!|
|4||Leg Press||05/20/16||340||318.00%||102||32||ass still about 2-3 inches above seat, at arm’s length; video dies at 65 secs, calculated another ~30-45 secs @340 from second video length and best estimates|
|5||Overhead Press||05/20/16||80||466.00%||56||12||feels easy at first!, then hard. Amanda comes by with clients|
|5||Overhead Press||05/20/16||30||109.00%||60||55||OK, that’s it|
By this chart, I was considerably stronger on Seated Row, Leg Press and Overhead Press while being weaker on Chest Press and Pulldown.